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Taxis and private hire vehicles

Taxis (hackney carriage) and private hire vehicles, drivers, and their booking offices must all be licensed separately. Find the right licences for you below.

Hackney Carriage or Private Hire vehicle?

The main difference between a Private Hire vehicle and a Hackney Carriage (taxi) is that a Private Hire vehicle can only be used on set pre-booked journeys, arranged through a Private Hire Operator. This means that when it is working the driver cannot go to a Taxi Rank and cannot pick up a passenger off the street unless it is a pre-booked fare. Hackney Carriages can be hailed (‘flagged down’) directly from the street or hired from taxi ranks within the district.

All Hackney Carriages (taxis) are required to display an illuminated Taxi sign. On licensed cars the sign is fitted to the roof and the word ‘taxi’ is visible from the front. During hours of darkness all taxi signs are illuminated when the vehicles are available for hire.

Private Hire vehicles are not permitted to display any sign on the roof or have the word ‘taxi’ anywhere on the vehicle.

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